Ballroom back to its old glory
About 25 California University of Pennsylvania students spent hours painting, scrubbing and tiling a firehouse ballroom in West Newton helping to restore the room to its original glory.
West Newton Mayor Mary Popovich, a California University assistant professor, recruited students to spruce up the Youghiogheny Ballroom, a part of the West Newton Volunteer Fire Department.
“I could not have done this project without the help of California University,” Popovich said.
Alyssa Hoffee, a sophomore majoring in athletic training, spent about seven days volunteering.
“It was definitely worth it,” she said. “Mary (Popovich) was my EMT instructor ... and she put a ton of time into helping us. I feel it was a good way to kind of repay her as a student to show up and help.”
Hoffee of Churchill cleaned bathrooms and painted the room.
“It was a huge project,” she said. “(The ballroom) changed a ton. It looks fabulous now. Before, it wasn't updated.”
Involving California University students in the project made sense, Popovich said, because of the university's “civic engagement” program that encourages student participation in community projects.
Popovich said she mentioned to students her concern about the ballroom, which was getting to a “point of disrepair.” If the room didn't undergo work, it wouldn't attract renters, she said.
The 20-year-old ballroom can accommodate 500 people and is often used for weddings, gun shows and meetings.
“Now it's clean and ready to rock and roll for weddings,” Popovich said. “I'm hoping if anybody needs a space to have a large (event), they'll call the fire department.”
Students from the university's technology education department, an honor society, the athletic training society, the women's rugby team and two sororities signed up to help along with community volunteers.
Brooke Yingling, an athletic training major who plays rugby at the university, enlisted a few members of the team to help clean and paint.
“We did heavy duty cleaning of the kitchen area as well,” said Yingling of Hanover. “For the time that we were there, it felt like we got a lot accomplished at the end.”
The work was “brutal,” Popovich said.
“We were on our hands and knees with a scraper tearing up the tile on the floor so they can lay more tile,” university senior Jarred Binner said. “We also power-washed some of the kitchen appliances such as the grates for the stove.”
Student Matt Renshaw, part of the school's Tech Education Association of California, scoured the kitchen, replaced cracked tiles and painted.
“We got a lot of stuff done, and it looked really, really good when it was done,” said Renshaw, of Moon Township. “I hope it's going to be used a lot more now.”
Many local companies donated supplies, Popovich said.
Work remains, she said, such as replacing or painting ceiling tiles, cleaning the kitchen exhaust fan, repairing gutters and replacing awnings.
“I feel like I've done good for the community,” Binner said about the project. “And it's been helping out my professor. ... Anything we can do to help her, we do. Because she does so much for us.”
Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Carroll incident draws police from 4 departments
- Mon Valley school districts set to begin new year
- Chase suspect faces trial, other woes
- Ringgold set for school year to begin Aug. 28
- Reader requests more from ’44 on ‘This Day’ journey
- Learning never stops for Fallowfield Towship art educator Mohney
- Monessen man faces another trial